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An Undersea Volcano in the Antartic

May 20, 2004

WASHINGTON - A previously unknown underwater volcano has been discovered off the coast of Antarctica, the National Science Foundation said Thursday....

The presence of a volcano was first suggested in sonar studies during a research cruise in January, but scientists were unable to return to the stormy waters of the region until April.

The foundation said the research vessel Lawrence M. Gould was returning from a study of a collapsed ice self when it passed over the volcano....

While large areas were colonized by submarine life, none was found on dark rock around the volcano itself, indicating that lava had flowed fairly recently. In addition, dredges recovered abundant fresh basalt, a volcanic rock....

Domack said the volcano stands 2,300 feet above the seafloor and extends to within roughly 900 feet of the ocean surface. The volcano is in an area known as Antarctic Sound, at the northernmost tip of Antarctica. There is no previous scientific record of active volcanoes in the region where the new peak was discovered. The volcano is located on the continental shelf, in the vicinity of a deep trough carved out by glaciers passing across the seafloor.

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